Single Moms We’ve Got the Recipe for Back-to-School Quick & Healthy Meals!

By Melissa Chapman

After hearing many single moms lamenting about the lack of microwave ready-just heat and serve meals that were a) healthy, b) nutritious and c) food their kids would actually take more than three bites of, single minded moms scoured the refrigerated sections of our local grocery stores for some healthier kid fare and found 4Real Food’s line of tasty dinners. These are quick, healthy meals for kids. But more importantly we got the nitty gritty on what makes these foods so finger-lickin’ good and why both single moms and their kids will adore them from, Elizabeth DeRobertis, “Nutritionist Liz” of 4Real Foods.

SMM: Tell us a little bit about your new line of foods; how did you come up with the concept?

The concept was initially developed by Steve Marlowe, a former executive from Weight Watchers. After having three girls, Steve became acutely aware of the need for healthy, convenient meals that would appeal to kids and parents alike. The objective was to develop great tasting and nutritious kid-friendly foods, with simple ingredients that moms would recognize and understand, and kids would actually enjoy eating – and I think we met that goal. I have been on board since the very initial phase, and my focus has been to ensure the nutritional profile of the meals – meals that not only moms but also nutritionists would feel good about serving.

As a general rule, the most convenient foods that appeal to kids tend to be loaded with calories, fat, sodium and artificial ingredients. 4Real is the healthier version of the foods kids already love – such as pizza, quesadillas, spaghetti rings, beef ravioli and Mac + Cheese.

SMM: What is the meaning behind the name 4Real? What are the price points and the different varieties you offer?

We went through a number of different names at the beginning, all trying to convey the message that this food was REAL, as opposed to overly processed. We also wanted a name that would appeal to kids. So ‘4 Real’ is a term that kids tend to use, and moms can also appreciate and believe in now.

4Real offers six all-natural meals for kids. We have a Mac + Cheese, Spaghetti Rings, Beef Ravioli, Cheese Pizza, Turkey Pepperoni Pizza, and a Cheesy Pizza Quesadilla. Depending on the retailer, they range from $2.99 to $3.99.

SMM: How will feeding their kids these meals give single moms a little peace of mind- what makes them so different from all the other ready to eat foods on the market right now?

It’s very frustrating to spend time making your child a healthy meal, only to have them take one look at it and refuse to eat it (especially when they have not even bothered to taste it)! Single moms are certainly busy moms with no time to waste. 4Real meals offer them quick, easy to make, balanced meals made with all-natural ingredients whose calories, fat and sodium are in line with what they should be.

SMM: What are your tips for single moms, in terms of helping them make sure they’re feeding their kids, healthy meals,? What are some quick simple tips they can start doing today, to cut preparation time in half and still provide nutritious meals?

In general, meals should be low in fat. The protein source should be lean, like chicken or turkey. There should be some form of vegetable at each meal, and some carbohydrates too.

Some quick simple tips for busy single moms include:

1. Stock up on frozen veggies; they are fast to prepare in the microwave, and actually retain the most nutrients when prepared using this method. Of course they can use fresh too, but frozen is an excellent option so they don’t need to worry about them spoiling, or being out of stock.

2. Bagged salads, pre-cut fruits and veggies are really good options. Lots of nutrition, and no prep required.

3. Buy more nutritious varieties of your kid’s favorites. 4Real meals of course fall into that category. But also doing things like buying pasta with extra calcium and fiber, or 2% cheese sticks which have less fat, or baked whole grain versions of chicken nuggets. Each of these small changes is a step in the right direction.

4. Start a list of your kid’s favorites; this will help save time during each trip to the supermarket because you’ll always have the essentials on hand.

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